I’m From Richmond, KY.

by Jillian W.

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

I didn’t think monogamy was possible. I’ve been engaged twice to men who never had a chance.

Since middle school, I dated guys. I loved the attention and reveled in the stares. I dated my first boyfriend for almost 7 years, second for 3.5 years, and others along the way. It was easy. Despite the relationships that I was in, I just could not connect with them. I remember my ex in tears in the living room of my student housing asking what is it that he is not doing. I was too fearful to tell him that it was all me. I loved the image of nuclear families (something I never had), but once I was in progress of making that happen, I panicked. It wasn’t me. I couldn’t imagine myself spending my life with a man.

From elementary school, I knew that something was different about me. I would develop intense crushes on female friends; recently, I found an old diary from 4th grade with a T-chart comparing if I should ask out Andrea or Danny (Andrea, a girl). I always put my feelings to the side because I knew that in my community it was looked down upon; in addition, being African-American just created a duality of marginalization that I wasn’t sure I was prepared for. I also wasn’t sure that if it was just something everyone went through.

In middle school, I fell in love with my first girl: my best friend. I admit that until this day I still love her. I think about her every day and she thinks about me too. One of those unattainable dreams: I have all the education, youth, and opportunities, but unable to be with the one you want. It seemed like through the years, I tried everything to mask those feelings. Dating men became my blanket that cloaked all my deepest feelings. It was easy.

I dated all types of men, from decent, honest guys with great futures to sleaze balls that were beneath me. I cheated on all of them with women. This fact pierces me to the core. The pain that I have caused, even without most of them knowing it. Those feelings just would not let me go. When I came out around 6 months after my last, failed attempt to try this nuclear family life I dreamed about, I felt a weight lifted from me. I was finally content.

I didn’t think monogamy was possible…until I came out of the closet.

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